With its Ikea-ish interior, rakish exterior and all the turbocharged performance needed by the clean-living suburbanite, the Volvo XC60 has always been a pleasurable crossover. A major update last year kept the car fresh against key rivals such as the BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque. What you see here is yet another refresh of the XC60, this time with a new powertrain and something called Sensus Connect.
The engine is still a 2-litre like that on the existing XC60 T5, but the “Drive-E” designation denotes a different form of propulsion – very different; in fact, combining both a supercharger and a turbocharger.
This is Volvo’s “Twincharger”, without the hoo-ha and with an 8-speed transmission.
The output of 245bhp and 350Nm is only slightly higher than that of the standard T5 motor, but it’s maximised by the “octo-matic” gearbox. Acceleration from a standstill to 100km/h is nearly a second faster than the other XC60 model, yet the fuel efficiency has increased and the exhaust emissions have decreased.
Of course, if you use the car like in a car-chase scene from Gone In 60 Seconds, the good mileage of the XC60 will be gone, too. The gentle torque-steer, however, won’t be absent anytime soon. The large steering wheel and “heavy” handling won’t be going anywhere either. Those 20-inch alloy wheels, by the way, are a whopping $10,000 option (the original set is 18-inch), but they look great and their 255/45 R20 Pirelli Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico tyres are grippier than any car-chase flick.
The Sensus Connect mentioned in the first paragraph is an infotainment enhancement that allows voice control, Internet radio and web browsing. But it’s not a stand-alone system (it needs to be tethered to a smartphone on board via Bluetooth), the browser function is disabled above 7km/h, and using the “OK/Menu/Exit” knob to control the eight-inch screen’s finger cursor is frustrating enough to make you curse with your middle finger.
Surfing in this machine is definitely less enjoyable than cruising in it. The ride is congenial, the leather seats are very comfortable, the amenities are world-class, and the many safety features are reassuring. There’s also enough cabin space for four Tings and their things (or maybe I should say four Chens, since Volvo has been a Swedish-Chinese brand under Geely since 2010).
2014 Volvo XC60 T5 Drive-E 2.0 (A)
ENGINE 1969cc, 16-valves, inline-4, supercharged and turbocharged
MAX POWER 245bhp at 5500rpm
MAX TORQUE 350Nm at 1500-4800rpm
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 7.2 seconds
TOP SPEED 210km/h
PRICE INCL. COE Not available
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Check out the new Volvo XC60 here.